01 Sep Changes to the 20-21 School Year
We’re writing to you today with updates and changes to our upcoming 2020-21 school year due to impacts of COVID-19.
Our primary goal is to maintain as much stability as possible for our community and provide a consistently high-quality experience for children and families. The safety and health of our staff, children, families, and communities is of the highest importance. We have assessed all of our locations and staffing capacity to determine which classrooms we can sustainably support with new health and safety regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This assessment has led to the very difficult decision to significantly adjust our planned programming for the coming fall.
We have also placed significant consideration on how these changes will impact the families that have already enrolled in programs that will be changing. We have developed a plan to work with families to meet their needs as best we can. We recognize that we will be unable to provide accommodations for all of our impacted families, and we deeply regret the impact this will have on families’ childcare and educational options.
We have made the following decisions in collaboration with public health professionals, staff, and partners. For the 2020-21 school year programs, we will be:
- Keeping our Beer Sheva, Carkeek, Cougar Mountain, Five Mile Lake, Olympic Sculpture Park, and Seahurst classrooms
- Not operating our Big Finn Hill, Camp Long, Jefferson, Northacres, and White Center Heights classrooms this school year
- Reducing our class sizes from 16 to 12 students
- Cancelling all 2-day and 3-day AM and PM programs, operating only 5-day programs
- Delaying the launch of our full-day program at Five Mile Lake Park, and instead providing a 5-day AM program at Five Mile Lake
A safe fall open will require actively managing and mitigating the inherent risks of COVID-19, which are likely to be with us for the duration of the upcoming school year. A full list of new health and safety procedures in response to COVID-19 is available for all enrolled families. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Free cloth masks for all kids and teachers, required for all kids, teachers, and families at drop-off and pick-up
- Temperature and symptom screening daily at drop off for all kids and teachers
- Reduced classroom materials (ie. toys, blocks, manipulatives, shared books)
- Daily cleaning of all classroom materials
These are big changes that affect every child, family, and staff member in our community. We know that Tiny Trees has been a meaningful experience for so many people, and we want to make sure that we can continue to support our community well. Right now, that looks like scaling down our locations and scaling up our health and safety measures in a new and responsive way.
Outdoor schooling is getting a lot of attention lately as we learn more about COVID-19 and the ways in which the virus is spreading through communities. While our unique all-outdoor preschool model offers us the benefits of open air classrooms that slow the spread of COVID-19, there are aspects of our program that require significant adjustments to maintain health, quality, and equity. As we learn, grow, and adapt to what our community needs, we will continue to share and collaborate with others in partnership.
Kellie Morrill (she/her)
Executive Director, Tiny Trees Preschool